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    PrideofNorthwich wrote:
    Barnton Wanderer says " would surely see 1874 return to the level and quality of football that their fans enjoyed before messrs Connett and Rushe arrived on the scene." Never in a million years will 1874 relive the days of Vics in their heyday at the Drill Field for the following reasons: 1 - Times have changed, many vics supporters want to remember the good times rather than have an "association" with a club several leagues below the level they were and do not want to watch 2 - Many people nowadays(throughout the country, not just Northwich) prefer to follow a premiership team on sky tv within the comfort of their own home 3 - You currently have roughly a quarter of vics support from the good old days, you might get a few more but not a thousand more 4 - You don't have your own ground 5 - The money required to compete in the conference is madness, luton town averaged several thousand last season, most others two or three. Where will you get anywhere near that number of supporters from? I could go on...Fair play for your ambition but thinking you will be a born again vics - its never going to happen.
    I believe that 1874 has the potential to attract the same level of support as Northwich Victoria once did. But at this stage it is only potential. I think that it will depend on the club eventually finding its way back to a permanent home within Northwich (and as close to the centre of town as possible where the ground/social club etc will be visible to the public and not hidden away down a track in a village or at the back of some industrial estate).

    Early success on the pitch will also be crucial in attracting fans and providing an opportunity to retain them and I don't think there is any better opportunity for that then in the FA Vase whilst they remain at Step 5. This is a winnable competition for teams in the NWC Prem as seen in recent years with Nantwich and Fylde enjoying success (and Glossop beaten in the final).

    Also it was only 7/8 years ago that Northwich took 4000+ to Sunderland so there is certainly a strong level of sleeping support for either Vics or 1874 (depending on how allegiances have split) which can be tapped in to. This level of sleeping support is something which Witton do not appear to have (from memory I think they had around 2000 at the play off final with Telford at home and Telford had somewhere in the region of 1200-1500 within that attendance figure and I think they had less than 1000 in the play off final at Curzon Ashton). Although I agree with PrideofNorthwich that times have changed and a healthy proportion of this sleeping support might not be there anymore but that is something that 1874 or Vics will not know until it's tested by either a Vase run for 1874 or another cup FA Cup run for Vics.

    Northwich is a growing town and looks set to continue to grow in the coming years as Liverpool and Manchester continue to generate jobs and one advantage that 1874 will have in attracting any potential new local support is that they will carry the name of the town which is something I always feel has hampered Witton and probably always will. Invaribably if you meet people on holiday or on business outside the area they have never heard of Witton Albion and those that have either have no idea where they are from or think they are based in Birmingham where I believe there is a town called Witton. Already I have come across people on my last two holidays and away with work who have heard of 1874 Northwich as a break away from Northwich Victoria when I have got talking about football or where I'm from. I think new people moving in to the area will naturally be swayed towards Vics or 1874 and Witton have a much bigger task in attracting that potential support. A visible facility in the town centre or close by for 1874 will only make that task harder for Witton.

    If clubs the size of Hyde, Alfreton, Weeling, Gateshead, Braintree, Altrincham and Barrow can reach the Conference Premier then I don't see why 1874 can not eventually become as big as those clubs (as Northwich Vics were up until 3 or 4 years ago) and reach the same level.

    I believe that 1874 are already the biggest club in Mid Cheshire in terms of support and that is with them playing in another town and only being a season in to their existence. Their average attendance was only 27 below Witton last season but Witton played in a league where a number of teams bring a following with them (and in the case of Chorley and FC United a fairly sizeable one) and 1874 were in a league where only people turning up apart from 1874 fans were the players and officals of the visiting clubs bar a handful of supporters/players family. Next year with visits from Runcorn, Congleton, Winsford, Alsager etc I would expect their average attendance to be above that of Witton.

    Of the 3 senior non league teams from Northwich (4 if we now include Barnton at Step 6!) I think that it is 1874 with the far biggest potential but they will have to get the new ground in the correct location and be succesful in attracting back a large proportion of the support that used to follow Vics and is currently active but undecided and attracting and retianing some of the sleeping supporters out there that used to turn up and watch Vics in the big games. They must also try to avoid what has happened to Runcorn Linnets and become stuck at Step 5 for too long. The future success of Northwich Victoria obviously depends on them making a return to the town sooner rather than later before they lose any more support to 1874. As for Witton, I think they are probably at just about the right level in terms of their support and what standard of football is affordable but obviously they have a very talented manager and a talented side on the pitch which for whatever reason didn't seem to fire correctly in the early part of last season compared to the season before. If they can get it right on the pitch again then I could see them pushing for promotion to the Conference North this season."
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1874 Northwich to be promoted to North West Counties League top flight after rival club resigns

1874 Northwich to be promoted to North West Counties League top flight after rival club resigns

Mike Brandon and 1874 Northwich will line up in the North West Counties League's Premier Division from next season. Picture: ANNIE HILDITCH

Mike Brandon and 1874 Northwich will line up in the North West Counties League's Premier Division from next season. Picture: ANNIE HILDITCH

First published in Football
Last updated
Northwich Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

1874 NORTHWICH will play at a higher level next season after Formby, who had beaten them to a promotion place on goal difference, resigned from the North West Counties League.

The fans-run club, who finished third in Division One with the same points tally as the Squirrels behind champions Nelson, were offered a place in the Premier Division during a phone call from league secretary John Deal to chairman Paul Stockton on Saturday.

He accepted.

“We didn’t see it coming,” admitted Brian Edge, vice chairman at 1874 Northwich.

“Paul asked if I was sitting down when I answered the phone, so I immediately thought he was about to deliver bad news. I wasn’t expecting to hear what he said next.”

The league confirmed Formby’s situation in a statement.

But the Merseyside club, Division One champions in 2013, have yet to comment beyond a brief remark on one of their online social media accounts.

“We’re exhausting all our final options before we confirm anything 100 per cent,” it read.

“Expect a statement from us on Monday.”

Bacup and Rossendale Borough, who occupied the first relegation position in the Premier Division, have already been reprieved from the drop by the FA’s Leagues Committee following a reshuffle further up the non-league pyramid.

However league rules prevent a side finishing bottom of the table, in this case Wigan Robin Park, from benefitting in the same way.

As a result, 1874 Northwich will fill the vacancy made by Formby’s exit.

Stockton said: “The league secretary doesn’t call out of season just for a chat, so I knew it was something significant after he left a message asking me to ring him.

“I wasn’t prepared for what he did say, mind!

“We were an own goal away from being promoted on the final day of the season, so had gone as close as we possibly could without going up.

“It’s what [manager] Ian [Street] and the players had worked so hard from the start to achieve.”

He told the Guardian that the club’s board would meet shortly to discuss in detail how being promoted will impact on their preparation for next season.

An open meeting for supporters, scheduled before today’s news, takes place at Lostock Social Club on Tuesday from 8pm.

What do you think? How will the team fare in the Premier Division next season? Add a comment below.

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